Vegan, Vino, Vici!

Ask away...   I love food, I love wine and I love being vegan.

twitter.com/michellebweiss:

    Last weekend, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) brought vegan fare for the first time to the annual Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival. In an attempt to prove that healthy eating in a culture that usually indulges in non-vegan delicacies is more than possible, PETA teamed up with NOTMC (New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation) as well as festival producer The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation to hold a 30-minute vegan gumbo cook off on Saturday Nov. 9 from 12 - 12:30pm at Louis Armstrong Park.

    The contest was judged by a panel that consisted of representatives from both the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the New Orleans School of Cooking, as well as Bryant Terry, vegan author and activist for healthy living.

    "I went to college in New Orleans and I feel like it’s home. In so many ways I feel like New Orleans helped shape the foundation of the cooking I do as a cookbook author.
    Having been gone for so long I wanted to reconnect with the city and the food of the city,” Terry said of his participation.

    Though this isn’t the first time that New Orleans has seen a veggie style gumbo (because of the city’s large Catholic population, residents make what is called Gumbo Z’herbes, or vegetarian gumbo, during lent as many give up meat for the holiday), this is the first time that several local restaurants as well as the Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival embraced veganism in this fashion.

    "I hope the food service community [in New Orleans] understands that there is a market for vegan food … for vegan options. Certainly it would be great if there were more restaurants that sold and catered to people who enjoy vegan food, but I think what would have a bigger impact are the restaurants that serve seafood and meat to have well thought out and tasty vegan options," Terry said.

    As for the winners, the public/attendee voted Linda Green of Miss Linda’s Soul Kitchen into first place, Dana Honn of Cafe Carmo into second and Woody Ruiz Woody’s Fish Tacos into third. The panel of judges had a different idea of winners: Troy and Cherie Brocato of Brocato’s Eat Dat took first place, Cafe Carmo won second place and Miss Linda’s Soul Food won third place.

    The vision of all parties involved is to make the vegan cook-off an annual event at the festival, but to also consider other festivals and normally meat heavy cuisines to incorporate into as well. Next up… perhaps a vegan BBQ cook-off?

    *Photo courtesy: PETA

    — 11 months ago with 6 notes
    #vegan  #gumbo  #new orleans  #festival  #vegetarian 

    I have both walked and driven past Sunny Blue several times in Santa Monica, and always made a mental note to visit. Last week I finally went and was so happy after eating their omusubi. As their website explains, “Omusubi is derived from a Japanese word “musubu” which means to hold together or connect.” At Sunny Blue, they offer both non-vegan and vegan omusubi where the options and variety are plentiful.

    The restaurant is very tiny with a walk up counter, which has glass panes. Behind the panes are Japanese women furiously patting soft triangle shaped rice balls together with their hands and delicately filling them with your selection from the menu. Though all sounded amazing I went with their basic Hijiki (seaweed, shitake mushrooms, tofu, peas and carrots) as well as the special Eggplant Chili Miso. The omusubi came wrapped in a large piece of crunchy seaweed so you have a firm grasp and can eat it like a Japanese burrito of sorts. Both were phenomenal but the Eggplant Chili Miso was by far superior.

    The only thing I wish they had was a place to eat! All they had was a tiny bar no bigger than a 2x4 plank of wood with 3 uncomfortable folding chairs right inside the entrance where people waiting in line breathe down your back while you’re eating. Half way through my meal I left and ate in my car. Seating aside, the food and service were exceptional and there are still flavors I need to try, along with a rotating specials list and miso soup. I’ll definitely be returning to the quaint little shop on Main Street!

    — 12 months ago with 1 note
    #vegan  #omusubi  #Japanese  #Santa Monica  #Main Street  #tofu  #peas  #carrots  #eggplant  #miso  #chili  #seaweed  #mushrooms 
    Recently realized I am trying new vegan wines all the time but never blog about them. Quite pathetic considering my blog name. Picked up a bottle of the Chile native Nuevo Mundo’s 2009 Cabernet the other night from Whole Foods and enjoyed the bottle (shared of course!). It was a bit sweeter than my dry liking but was great to pair with pizza and salad. Recommended!

    Recently realized I am trying new vegan wines all the time but never blog about them. Quite pathetic considering my blog name. Picked up a bottle of the Chile native Nuevo Mundo’s 2009 Cabernet the other night from Whole Foods and enjoyed the bottle (shared of course!). It was a bit sweeter than my dry liking but was great to pair with pizza and salad. Recommended!

    — 1 year ago with 2 notes
    #vegan  #wine  #nuevo mundo  #pizza  #salad 

    A few weeks ago I went to a really great panel at the Santa Monica Public Library about organic farming. It included organic farmers from Weiser Family Farms, Harry’s Berries, McGrath Family Farms (all of which you can find at the local farmers markets), Ann Gentry, the founder of Real Food Daily and Carlos Lawrence, an organic certifier for Agnet LLC.

    I have written about farmers markets in the past and dabbled in the organic of it all, but this panel took the education of organic farming to a whole new level. They started with a very interesting history letting the audience know that while the concept of organic farming started in the 1940s the national organic certification didn’t start until 2002. Though many farmers began farming organically and still do today, most do not get their organic certification due to the amount of paperwork and tedious logs they must keep in order to maintain their certificate. It took the owners of Harry’s Berries (who have technically been organic since 1998 but just recently decided to get certified) two and half months to fill out the paperwork! Luckily, the organic certification process is under a marketing division of the USDA, who are working at simplifying the process.

    Nevertheless, becoming certified organic takes 3 years, because farmers must have grown organic produce on organic soil for 3 years and the USDA has decided it takes that long for any previous chemicals or pesticides to leave the dirt.

    Some other interesting facts I learned during the panel include:
    ~Most organic crops are easier to be diversified, resulting in different types of produce they can offer to customers and it’s ultimately better for the environment as well.
    ~Most fraudulent organic food is from imported produce not local.
    ~Dairy farmers are the biggest proponents of non-organic farming and are the ones trying to water down certification. They have a reputation for asking for more approved chemicals to be added to the organic farming list.
    ~California is the first and only state to have a certified organic process ON TOP of the USDA.
    ~Sea vegetables (or any sea food) can never be organic because the ocean is not an organic source.
    ~Ventura County has the highest pesticide use in California and also the highest breast cancer rate in California :(
    ~ Most importantly, Real Food Daily in the international terminal of LAX opens in a month!!!

    While I’ve long been a supporter of organic and local farming, the owner of Harry’s Berries made the most important point of the night - that there’s more than just being organic. Farms and farmers need to be sustainable and they need to treat their workers well. And that’s exactly what the USDA’s GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) certification was created for.

    Oh and I forgot to mention they gave us all strawberry shortcake from Real Food Daily afterwards! Yum!!

    — 1 year ago with 2 notes
    #organic  #vegan  #vegetarian  #vegetables  #Ventura  #pesticides  #chemicals  #farmers market 
    It’s really not that difficult or expensive to eat a hearty vegan meal… here is a super easy and tasty one! 

Quinoa
Black beans
Lightly steamed collard greens
Sliced avocado
Salsa (I like Amy’s jarred salsa). 

The beans and quinoa are packed with protein. There are no spices, salt or anything else added - the salsa is plenty. I also bought a bag of blue corn tortilla chips. This took me 15 minutes to make. Shazam!!!

    It’s really not that difficult or expensive to eat a hearty vegan meal… here is a super easy and tasty one!

    Quinoa
    Black beans
    Lightly steamed collard greens
    Sliced avocado
    Salsa (I like Amy’s jarred salsa).

    The beans and quinoa are packed with protein. There are no spices, salt or anything else added - the salsa is plenty. I also bought a bag of blue corn tortilla chips. This took me 15 minutes to make. Shazam!!!

    — 1 year ago with 3 notes
    #vegan  #easy  #meal  #simple  #quick  #vegetarian  #collard greens  #black beans  #quinoa  #avocado  #salsa 
    If you’re a Starbucks fanatic you may have seen this brand’s blueberry granola bar in their stores. Little did I know Two Moms in the Raw has an entire line of healthy snacks - and they carry them at Whole Foods and Erewhon! 

They had a demo today at my local Whole Foods and I had a great pre-lunch snack trying everything they had to offer (including the above shown Pesto Sea Crackers and Almond Butter Cacao Truffles I couldn’t resist buying). The story behind the creation of this brand is a true testament to Hippocrates’ saying “Let thy food be thy medicine,” the founder Shari was diagnosed with MS and discovered a raw-vegan diet made her feel the best.

All of their food is organic, vegan, raw, gluten-free, wheat-free, non-GMO, kosher and best of all, handmade! I’ve never found a brand of food that hits so many dietary needs and still tastes amazing. 

Also, the ingredients are so simple - each product doesn’t have more than 6 or so and you’ve heard/can pronounce them all!

    If you’re a Starbucks fanatic you may have seen this brand’s blueberry granola bar in their stores. Little did I know Two Moms in the Raw has an entire line of healthy snacks - and they carry them at Whole Foods and Erewhon!

    They had a demo today at my local Whole Foods and I had a great pre-lunch snack trying everything they had to offer (including the above shown Pesto Sea Crackers and Almond Butter Cacao Truffles I couldn’t resist buying). The story behind the creation of this brand is a true testament to Hippocrates’ saying “Let thy food be thy medicine,” the founder Shari was diagnosed with MS and discovered a raw-vegan diet made her feel the best.

    All of their food is organic, vegan, raw, gluten-free, wheat-free, non-GMO, kosher and best of all, handmade! I’ve never found a brand of food that hits so many dietary needs and still tastes amazing.

    Also, the ingredients are so simple - each product doesn’t have more than 6 or so and you’ve heard/can pronounce them all!

    — 1 year ago with 3 notes
    #Mom  #Raw  #Two  #vegan  #gluten free  #wheat free  #non-GMO  #kosher  #handmade  #vegetarian  #healthy  #health  #pesto  #cacao  #almond butter  #sea  #crackers 
    Some boyfriends bring flowers. Mine brings fruit and veggies he grew. #bestboyfriendever

    Some boyfriends bring flowers. Mine brings fruit and veggies he grew. #bestboyfriendever

    — 1 year ago
    #bestboyfriendever 
    The heat is finally kicking in this summer which means our desserts turn from warm hot chocolate to ice cream! I’ve just discovered my favorite new brand and it’s ridiculously “guilt-free” for those of you who feel bad when you indulge in sweets (not me!). 

The brand is Organic Oasis (formerly Tomberlies) and it’s raw, vegan, wheat-free, soy-free, sugar-free, but not tasty-free! There’s only about 5 ingredients including coconut and agave nectar for sweetener and it’s amazing.

I have yet to try all of the flavors but so far Fudge Ripple and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut are my favorite. Seriously try this stuff…it’s one of those things that makes you realize being vegan doesn’t mean you eat tasteless crap all day.

    The heat is finally kicking in this summer which means our desserts turn from warm hot chocolate to ice cream! I’ve just discovered my favorite new brand and it’s ridiculously “guilt-free” for those of you who feel bad when you indulge in sweets (not me!).

    The brand is Organic Oasis (formerly Tomberlies) and it’s raw, vegan, wheat-free, soy-free, sugar-free, but not tasty-free! There’s only about 5 ingredients including coconut and agave nectar for sweetener and it’s amazing.

    I have yet to try all of the flavors but so far Fudge Ripple and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut are my favorite. Seriously try this stuff…it’s one of those things that makes you realize being vegan doesn’t mean you eat tasteless crap all day.

    — 1 year ago
    #vegan  #ice cream  #Organic Oasis  #fudge  #white chocolate  #macadamia  #raw  #vegetarian  #gluten free  #sugar free  #soy free 
    5 Tips for Going Vegan →
    People ask me all the time how I stay vegan… so I wrote an article for The Huffington Post about it.
    — 1 year ago

    Because being vegan wasn’t challenging enough, the boy and I recently discovered the negative side effects of nightshades. Nightshades are a certain family group of vegetables that include potatoes (NOT sweet potatoes), tomatoes, peppers and eggplant (and more). These foods have a substance called alkaloids in them which have been proven to cause joint pain especially for those with arthritis.

    We don’t want to rid of these foods completely but going along with the phrase “too much of anything is bad” we have cut them out of our diets significantly and have challenged ourselves to cook foods that are night shade free.

    The result? The other night we made sweet potato and lentil tacos with mango salsa. Very simple to make - we boiled the lentils in veggie broth for flavor and steamed sweet potatoes for the taco filling. The salsa was just chopped mango, onions, cucumbers and radishes with a little salt & pepper and some lime juice.

    Next time we’ll have to make margaritas and mojitos to go along with our tacos!

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #vegan  #vegetarian  #nightshade  #nightshade free  #tacos  #lentils  #mango salsa  #mojitos  #margaritas